The COVID-19 pandemic caused all public meetings to be cancelled from March 2020.
Sedgwick Parish Council have been holding virtual monthly meetings using the Zoom online platform. Members of the public can join these meetings and participate in exactly the same way as normal monthly meetings. (see public participation) You do not need any special software to access meetings and if you do not have a computer, tablet or mobile phone, you can dial in on a standard land line. Further instructions about how to use zoom are available at the bottom of this page.
If you would like to join a meeting, please contact the clerk before 5pm on the day of the meeting and request a link that will connect you straight through to the meeting.
Attendees are required to follow the following virtual meeting etiquette
Sedgwick Parish Council Remote Meeting Protocols and Etiquette The Council hold a Zoom license to enable business to be conducted virtually. Zoom was chosen as an affordable, widely used, user friendly and secure platform that can be accessed by residents and councillors, free of charge and without the need to download specific software Details of how to request a link are published with the agenda of each meeting. Business will be streamlined as much as practicable and reports made available to reduce time spent on each item. This is to restrict the meeting time to 2 hours. Participants should log into the Zoom 5minutes before the start of a meeting to allow any technical glitches to be sorted out. Participants will be held in the "waiting room" and then be admitted into the "meeting room” Normal meeting protocols and standards of behaviour must be upheld; formal standards eg dress code, levels of respect and meeting discipline should be consistent with other meetings, even though people are participating from informal environments. Muting - the normal protocol is for participants to mute themselves unless they wish to speak (this ensures the meeting runs smoothly and people don’t speak over each other - it also avoids unfortunate muttered comments being overheard). This means those who wish to speak must unmute themselves to speak- this knack takes a bit of getting used to so the chair will try to offer reminders if people who are speaking cannot be heard by a visual signal. If discussion becomes heated or people interrupt, the chair has the functionality and right to mute participants permanently. Those who wish to speak should raise their hands visually or use wave button Voting - general agreement can be shown by raising a hand but formal votes will be taken by a roll call.
Connectivity problems: The clerk will monitor the level of quorum and lost connections. If connection is lost by individual, they should attempt to re-join. If all or majority lose connection meeting is adjourned for 5 minutes, when it will restart if sufficient participants have re-joined. For loss of connectivity longer than 5 minutes, the meeting will be adjourned to future date.
Public participation - as usual and in accordance with standing orders, public are allowed to participate only under he public participation item on agenda - up to 3 minutes per person will be allowed, with 10 minutes being allocated overall for the Public Participation section.
Withdrawal: If the withdrawal of individuals is required due to issues of confidentiality, pecuniary interest or dispensation requests, the individual will be placed back in the waiting room while the matter is discussed and then invited to re-join the meeting afterwards.
Although the Parish Council will not record the meeting, it should be assumed that the meeting is being recorded as any participants could be recording. Any documents needed to be signed will be signed during the meeting and posted or delivered safely after the meeting.
Instructions Getting started with Zoom Zoom is a free, user friendly platform that is widely used to bring people together online in “meetings” which they can join either on a computer device like a PC, tablet or smart phone or just by standard phoneline. You can join with your camera and or microphone switched on so people can see and hear you or you can just listen and or watch.
Before you get started with Zoom, you need to make sure you have the right equipment for how you want to use it. Zoom works across different devices, including mobile phones and computers. If you want to be seen, you need a camera - you don't have to worry about this if you're on a smartphone or tablet, since they already come with front-facing cameras built in. The same goes for laptops. However, if you have a desktop, you'll need a webcam. If you are just joining for an audio link on a landline phone, you just need the phone. You can download the Zoom App and join using that, (the basic package is free) but you can also join without the app - just by clicking a link sent to you by the meeting organiser (or host) in their email, text or message. If you don’t have the app, when you click on the link, it will simply open up a new page in your browser and you can join from there. It will offer you the opportunity to download the app, but you just need to ignore that suggestion and skip down to the fine print underneath: "If you cannot download or run the application, join from your browser." Click the highlighted text in "join from your browser" and you'll be presented with a Zoom meeting page. Sign in with your name and join the meeting. You might need to enter a password if it is required - that will have been sent to you with the link. You can toggle camera and mic on and off if you wish. You will enter a “waiting room” and the host can then let you into the meeting - this enables unwanted visitors not to admitted. This can take a few seconds so please be patient. When you are let in, you will join other participants. You can switch your camera and microphone off and on from the icons at the edge of the screen and control which display mode you are in. Icons and controls are very user friendly and if you hover over them it usually tells you what they are for. The mute function is there so you can mute yourself or the host can mute participants - which is useful in a formal meeting or when there is background noise. You simply unmute yourself when you wish to speak. Even seasoned zoom users sometimes forget to unmute themselves before speaking; attendees simply let the speaker know - you get used to that! A host can share a screen with you which is useful to present to a meeting and they can allow you to share - you simply click on the share screen icon and select which screen you want to broadcast. There is also chat function accessed by the speech bubble icon so people who don’t want to speak can message and still contribute. It is worth thinking about lighting so your face can be seen and what is in your background (especially if you are house proud or you live in chaos!), but the rest is very straightforward.